Mitigating Personal Conduct

Will try to make this short. During a poly I had a few years ago I falsely admitted to committing criminal conduct a few years prior to the poly. It was a really stupid mistake and I felt very intimidated by my examiner who was coming off as rather hostile towards me. I know I should’ve stuck to the truth but he wouldn’t let me begin the poly until he got the answer he wanted. After the admission we started the poly (my second of the day) but he just cut the test short and said he couldn’t get a reading.

Fast forward to last year when I had another offer from another agency. They saw my poly record and said everything was fine but when I went in and they questioned me about it. I told them that I regretted not telling the truth during my poly and that I felt pressured to make an admission. At that point I don’t know if I should’ve just stuck with it but I told them I falsely admitted to something during my poly due to A B C reasons.

Both times I was told I was not denied a security clearance but that my COE was rescinded and that I could reapply in a year. Is there a way to mitigate this personal misconduct if I want to reapply for a position today? Or should I not even try and just let more time pass? Any answers would be appreciated.

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Just a suggestion . . . If you were denied a job because a poly operator forced you into admitting something that is not true, my first call would be to a clearance lawyer.


Having sat through 4 poly’s over 8 years I understand the pressure. They are miserable and unrelenting. In many criminal cases the level of coercion causes a confession to be thrown out. Your Poly should have been recorded. I think the lawyer suggestion is about the only way you will get a measure of resolution. I think people are done a disservice in not being denied a clearance formally but stopped in process. If it is enough to hang a hat on legally they should formally deny the clearance. Then you have a concrete issue to provide a rebuttal. Your situation leaves you in purgatory, and hardly any means to question it. That is where a lawyer may be able to help. Seek one with considerable experience on clearance polygraphs. Interview them to determine their success rate arguing poly results. If they have success with very similar or greater situations, you have a chance, but as stated in another thread each case is different and it is hard to say a person with lots of poly court case experience can actually get your situation resolved.


I see… So I actually would’ve been better off if I was formally denied and then obtained a SOR? Also, even if I didn’t receive an SOR, would a lawyer be able to somehow “overturn” the examiners results? Thanks so much for the replies! Sheds at least some light on my messy situation.

You would be in a much better circumstance had you received an SOR. That way, at least you have something that you can argue to.

It’s not a matter of “overturning” the examiner’s results but getting things moved forward. My guess is that you are sitting on some adjudicator’s desk. Someone who doesn’t want to have to deal with your poly results.


Ed is correct. It isn’t unusual when a folder goes “cold.” This is a file requiring more than normal attention. In the interest of efficiency the adjudicator moves forward the easily moved files to keep the process moving. Those requiring a bit more thought are easier and easier to hold off. Then the office rotation comes and a new person has this file…and less inclination to address the needs as they too are interested in their metric of moving files. Maintaining sponsorship through these situations and an engaged FSO is key. If you lose either…the file really collects dust. If you were to obtain another sponsor and you required a poly, I would speak to this info with the investigator and put it on the SF86. I would also open with that on your poly.

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Thanks for the info ed and amber. I’ll definitely be open about everything. I indicated it on the SF-86 with my second offer so we’ll see how things turn out if/when I have another go at it… Much appreciated! However, just wondering from reading around, would a suitability denial still come with an SOR? I read that certain agencies (IC, mostly) can just rescind offers and not really offer any options for recourse but it also won’t result in a denial of clearance.

Thanks so much for your guys’ answers!

My understanding is if there is a denial, you get a SOR which explains in detail the reasons and appeal process. Some companies may pull back a clearance package if they feel it may embarrass them or result in losing client respect. I’ve been in this business long enough to know it would take a lot for clearance division to tell a COTR the contract company is submitting known unclearable people. As long as the people are reasonably screened, meet basic eligibility, the company cannot make an applicant divulge everything. A denial is between the applicant and the client, hence why I am not given a reason for denial. If the applicant or employee wants to share it they can and I am always willing to help with an appeal. Or in one case politely tell the gentleman he had zero chance of getting cleared. But that was multiple criminal acts while cleared, drug use, selling, underage relations…just no way to shine that story.

No . . . I don’t think that a “suitability denial” would come with an SOR. This is because you haven’t actually entered the process yet, you are being denied by your prospective employer not the government.

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If you were informed that you passed the fs poly (at the last stage of the process), can you still get an sor? Or does it usually mean you will most likely get clearance in due course?

As I understand it . . . Saying that you “passed” a poly is just saying that you appear to have answered questions honestly and don’t appear to be attempting to hide anything.

It’s still up to an adjudicator to decide if your answers will allow them to grant you a clearance.

Yes . . . You can still get an SOR.


Goodness, ok thanks!

Yep. Many times our applicants are called back for an interview to clear up a fuzzy area. Without throwing polygraphers under the bus I will say I believe nothing they tell me. If they say I am lighting up like a Christmas tree…if they roll their eyes…sigh…whatever. If they say I passed…great. If they say they need see me again…well, not as great, but that isn’t always the case. Their job is to collect data and shake the tree. And rattle your nerves. Be honest, tell one version truthfully and stick with it. No matter how many times they rephrase…you rephrase right back to how you phrased it.


My poly tried to shake a tree from 20 yrs ago! Had a hard time remembering!

That…is frustrating. If they ask, I suppose you need answer. Nothing requires them to only talk about last 10 years. Particularly if you speak to something egregious. I am sure they act like everyone remembers minute details when surprised on a 20 year old topic. I think most would stutter and stammer and struggle to recall. I would ask to table it until I can dig up the memories.